Since 2003, trance all-stars Tony McGuinness, Jono Grant, and Paavo Siljamäki (collectively known as Above & Beyond) have been releasing yearly compilations to showcase the latest and greatest features of the Anjunabeats record label family. Released during July of this year, “Anjunabeats Volume 8″ brilliantly displays the sounds and artists that make Anjunabeats one of the most famous trance and progressive music label imprints to date. The compilation features twenty eight tracks from familiar Anjunabeats contributors such as Daniel Kandi, Super8 & tab, Maor Levi, Adam Nickey, Kyau & Albert, and Nitrous Oxide as well as some newcomers like 7 Skies, Arty, Parker & Hanson, Who.Is, and Juventa. And apart from the excellent selection of brand new music from the artists, Above & Beyond seamlessly blend all the tracks into a two disc continuous mix.
CD 1 opens with a fantastic ambiance from a song entitled “Alquimia” by Parker & Hanson. As the chord progression and crescendo builds, chanting and hymn-like vocals are slowly layered into the mix creating a very south Asian feel to the song. The tension is then broken with a few stabbing chords into a minimalist progressive house beat with a hulking sub bass to create a fantastic album opener. The CD continues on to other progressive songs like “Stranded in NYC”, “Let Go” (a beautifully crafted vocal track), and “Chordplay” which contains a cleverly synthesized bell-like timbre that makes the song perfect for those late night drives on the highway. CD 1 also contains Above & Beyond’s latest single “Anphonic” which was co-produced with German trance-stars Kyau & Albert. Its slow grinding bass makes the tune a dance floor beast when played at extreme volumes (I personally heard the song at Audiotistic 2010 in San Bernardino when Comic Gate played it). The compilation breaks out of the progressive side and into more fast paced trance with “Chasing Love” featuring lush vocal work from Ashley Tomberlin on top of a huge rolling bass line and rich chordal ambiance. Super8 & Tab (who have been around since the early 2000’s) also make an appearance on CD 1 with their memorable lead melodies with “Black is the New Yellow”. As the CD progresses, the tempo is pushed up slightly more with songs like “On a Good Day (Metropolis)”, arguably the most popular club vocal track of this year, and “Seven Years” by Thomas Datt.
CD 2 follows the same format as 1 by building up the tempo and transitioning from progressive house to uplifting trance. “The Wonder” by Russian producer Arty is loaded to the brim with percussion samples and has a catchy rhythmic groove before it goes into the breakdown from which it was named. “Sushi”, which is my favorite club track of this year, is a perfect combination of trancy lead melodies, fart-like electro basslines, and an energizing breakdown. Within CD 2 is another Above & Beyond single soon to be released named “Thing Called Love” with lyrics and vocals from Richard Bedford which is reminiscent of earlier trance songs from Above & beyond. CD 2 also has a larger selection of fast paced songs than CD1 with tunes such as “Larry Mountains 54″, “Alt+F4″ the Dan Stone remix, and “Sky Falls Down” which is a mash-up containing the acapella from OceanLab’s 2003 track entitled “Sky Falls Down”.
Although the compilation does have tracks that I strongly dislike such as “From The Earth” and “Pieces of Me”, the other twenty two tracks perfectly compensate for their weaknesses. All in all, this years Anjunabeats compilation is a perfect snapshot of the labels unique sound that it has developed over the last seven years and is a sure sign that the label’s future is nowhere near to becoming bleak.
Since the date of this post, most of the tracks from the compilation have been fully released as singles under the Anjunabeats label. The ones on the left are some of my favorite tracks from the album. You can find all of the singles on beatport.com and other internet purchase download sites such as iTunes, junodownload, etc.
Tracklist for “Anjunabeats Volume 8″ compiled/mixed by Above & Beyond
1 – Alquimia by Parker & Hanson
2 – Stranded in NYC by Duderstadt
3 – Let Go by Aruna & Mark Eteson
4 – Chordplay by Oliver Smith
5 – Keyboard Cowboys by Boom Jinx & Andrew Bayer
6 – Anphonic by Above & Beyond vs. Kyau & Albert
7 – Rush by Arty
8 – Chasing Love (feat. Ashley Tomberlin) by Maor Levi
9 – Black is the New Yellow (feat. Anton Sonin) by Super8 & Tab
10 – From the Earth (Breakfast Remix) by Andrew Bayer
11 – 90 Nights of Summer by Bart Claessen
12 – On a Good Day (Metropolis) by Above & Beyond and Gareth Emery pres. OceanLab
13 – Seven Years by Thomas Datt pres. Asedo
14 – Piece of Me by Daniel Kandi
1 – A Farewell (Intro Edit) by Andrew Bayer
2 – The Taxi Driver by Andrew Bayer
3 – The Wonder by Arty
4 – Sushi by 7 Skies
5 – Live Forever (feat. Emma Hewitt) (Mat Zo Dub) by Lange
6 – We.Are by Who.Is
7 – Thing Called Love (feat. Richard Bedford) (Club Mix) by Above & Beyond
8 – Larry Mountains 54 (feat. Andreas Hermansson) (Juventa Remix) by David West
9 – Altara by Adam Nickey
10 – Forgive Me by Daniel Kandi
11 – Mercy (feat. Jan Burton) (Extended Mix) by Super8 & Tab
12 – Alt+F4 (Dan Stone Remix) by Alt+F4
13 – Dreamcatcher (Club Mix) by Nitrous Oxide
14 – Sky Falls Away by OceanLab vs. Passive Progressive
Favorite Tracks: CD#1 – 3, 4, 12 CD#2 – 3, 4, 8
- Jonathan Mendoza a.k.a. “SoulStace”
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